You can judge a book by its cover

The Turn is coming! I’ve got the cover to prove it! And the tease in me is going to draw it out all week so I can take the time and tell you about the thought that should go into a cover.

There’s a joke in NY that the last person to design the cover should be the writer because most of us want it to be a pure expression of what’s inside, but after years of seeing how these are put together, I’ve learned a few things about what makes an effective cover, (I had a great teacher)  and what isn’t as successful. Rarely does the cover ever look like a scene of the book, but rather, it has elements that tell you what’s inside. Something magical for paranormal, a man and a woman if there’s lots of romance, a flavor of setting, (space, fantasy, castle, city, futuristic) weapons if there’s danger, wolves if there’s Weres, and fangs for vampires, you get the idea.

If I were to duplicate an image from the book, Trisk would be in a lab coat, that wonderful hair of hers in a bun with maybe a man in a suit or lab coat behind her smiling wickedly against a backdrop of a tomato field (or city) putrefying in the sun. Personally, I like the red dress much better. Covers are not so much duplicating an image from the book as finding the feeling they contain. And even after that, even the professionals don’t know what makes one cover fly off the shelves and others not.

I’m hoping this one jumps off the shelves like it was on fire.


Yes, I know you can’t see the last half of it clearly. Tease, remember? And I want to slow down and talk about aspects of this absolutely fabulous cover as it evolved from what I first saw.


At the heart of the story, there is Trisk, Trent’s to-be mother, and the cover should have her on it. My editor chose the model and put her in a bright red dress, and I think it does a fantastic job of reflecting Trisk. She’s a dark elf, like Quen, sophisticated, smart, and has been expected to focus on security as her career. And as beauty can be equated with danger, the model is indeed, beautiful.

But Trisk, like the story itself, has a core of science running through her. The original cover had all the beauty, but none of the science, so I suggested a DNA helix necklace. The necklace does double duty as the glints tend to draw in the eye and give hints that there might be magic involved. I also asked for the neckline to shift to a straight cut as that was the style in the sixties and I felt that that element of the book needed to be on there somewhere.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you the background, and tell you why I love my editor’s choice there so much.



Filed under Drama Box

27 responses to “You can judge a book by its cover

  1. Brian

    I remember seeing the cover for Pale Demon and thinking to myself “this looks like a granny read.” However I picked it up anyway and it led to my introduction of the hollows and some of the best reads of my life. 🙂 Haven’t started the new series yet but I’m looking forward to finding the time.

  2. Jaime Colston

    Red because…tomatoes! And power. And love. And blood.
    Sorry, I geeked out there for a second. Everyone ok? LOL

  3. Martin

    Thanks for sharing, (teasing) I’m really looking forward to it.

  4. David Rheuark

    Thank you for answering all the Turn questions I ever had.

  5. I love all your books, so excited to read this and anything else you put out for us! We all appreciate your incredible stories, thank you!

  6. Jody

    Sooooo awesome! Can’t wait!!!!!
    Is the necklace going to be offered as swag? Hmm mm? !!! It’s very beautiful. Love the red.

  7. genki

    What?! No comments on the tomato-red dress?!??!

  8. Rocky

    The first three signed Hollows books came today! I love the little comments you wrote in them! Thank you so much!

  9. Brenda Rorie-Baety

    I would also love a boxed set!! I would buy it in a second!! I’m so looking forward to spring!! 🙂

  10. Brenda R.

    Fantastic! The biologist in me loves that necklace.

    It looks like he is holding a tomato in an Eve kind of way. That seems appropriate. 🙂

  11. Mike Short

    Yes, you are a tease! And thank you for returning to this universe. I wasn’t ready to leave it!!

  12. Leanne Brewer

    What I can see is beautiful! I’m excited to read this!

  13. Vampyre

    It looks great. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Mac, my small Tom cat caught a young squirrel the other day. I got it away from him before he hurt it. Now it’s loose in my other bedroom. I can’t seem to catch him. To make sure he doesn’t die, I put some dry rasin bran and a cup of water in the room. Got any nonleathal ways to catch a squirrel I might try?

    • I’d open a window, Vampy. Good luck!

    • Vampyre

      I caught him in the empty rasin bran box and released him at the base of on of my biggest trees. While I was doing that, both cats went into the room where he was so I locked them in there for a while. Hopefully he’ll get to safety before I release them tonight. I’m so happy right now.

      I’m really looking forward to THE TURN. 😊

  14. Would love to see a boxed set – Book and Necklace!

  15. HeyRoper

    i can’t wait to read this book! PS i googled “double helix jewelry charm” and there are a few places you can get them at.

  16. Charlie Morgan

    Love the necklace idea and the rendering with the light play. Yes, please! Necklace for sale. I’m lining up now…

  17. SusieNY

    You really need to make that necklace and sell it. Not only the book lovers but science Geeks will want it to!

  18. Jen

    I’m so excited for this to come out! I’ve always been fascinated with the character of Trent’s mother, & the little glimpses we got of her through Trent. I know this story will be just as well-loved by me as all of your other Hollows stories! (Well, 😃 as well-loved as ALL of your books!)

  19. Edward Carson

    Awesome! Can’t wait for Spring!

  20. Hey, that’s pretty nice, Kim!

  21. Angela L

    Oh love it so far! Can’t wait to see the rest!

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